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Mississippi’s school reopenings have been an utter disaster

Published Aug 18th, 2020 1:34PM EDT
Coronavirus school reopening
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  • Over 400 teachers and students in Mississippi have tested positive for the coronavirus as schools across the state begin to reopen for in-person learning.
  • According to Mississippi’s State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, COVID-19 cases have been reported at schools in 71 of the 82 countries throughout the state.
  • Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves says telehealth and testing for teachers will be expanded, but he has no plans to shut schools back down.

There are 82 counties in Mississippi, and on Monday, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that 71 of those counties have reported COVID-19 cases in their schools, according to WAPT. 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, while another 589 teachers and 2,035 students are currently in quarantine because they were exposed to someone that tested positive.

This undoubtedly isn’t the news parents and teachers wanted to hear as schools across the state reopen this week, which is why Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced that school-based telehealth coverage will be expanded throughout the state and that diagnostic testing for teachers will ramp up.

“Today, as we work to ensure that children can achieve some quality learning in the state of Mississippi, we are announcing two measures to increase access to health care and COVID-19 prevention in schools,” said Governor Reeves. “First, we are expanding school-based emergency telehealth coverage throughout the state of Mississippi. This will allow schools, even those without school nurses or school-based clinics, to access telehealth services. We also know that testing can allow us to prevent the spread of the virus by immediately identifying and isolating known cases. As teachers return to the classroom, we want to make it simple for them to get access to testing.”

Despite President Donald Trump’s claims that children are “virtually immune” to COVID-19, the data makes it clear that young people can catch and spread the deadly virus, even if they’re less likely to develop serious complications. Even with social distancing guidelines and mask requirements, the risk of becoming infected remains incredibly high in schools, and the fall semester just started. What will the numbers look like in another two weeks?

On Sunday, Reeves appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation to discuss his decision to reopen schools, and shortly after took to Facebook to defend Mississippi’s plan while simultaneously attacking liberals:

Some people want to use COVID-19 as an excuse for every far-reaching liberal policy goal and shut our whole country down until there are zero cases. The narrative is baked in, and anyone who challenges it supposedly wants people to die. That’s not healthy. That kind of religious commitment to a political narrative can have devastating consequences, and we have to be unafraid to push back.

Mississippi’s daily case count has been on the decline since the calendar flipped to August, but as Reeves remains determined to open schools across the state, the next few weeks could tell a different story.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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